New Articles

U.S. Sanctions Seven Companies

May 24, 2011
Seven companies have been sanctioned under the amended Iran Sanctions Act. The following is a State Department statement issued on May 24, 2011:         Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to impose sanctions on seven companies under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) of 1996, as…

Key Excerpts from Amnesty International Report

May 24, 2011
The following is an excerpt from Amnersty International's "State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, January to mid-April 2011" report:        The authorities maintained severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly. Sweeping controls on domestic and…

FACT SHEET: Holding Iran Accountable

May 23, 2011
The following is a State Department statement issued on May 19, 2011: President Obama remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and has successfully built an international coalition to hold Iran accountable on its illicit nuclear program.  With our P5+1 partners, we…

The Impact of Syria’s Unrest on Iran

May 23, 2011
Jubin Goodarzi What role is Iran playing in the Syrian political crisis?In April, the United State claimed that Tehran has been helping Damascus put down the Syrian uprising. Two rounds of U.S. sanctions on Syria for human rights abuses have since named Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) for…

Changes to Iranian Student Visas

May 20, 2011
The following is a statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:        I am very pleased to announce a big step forward in the Obama Administration’s support of the Iranian people.         Under our old visa policy, Iranian students and exchange visitors were eligible for visas that lasted…

Excerpt on Iran from President Obama’s Mideast Speech May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011
         The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region. We support a set of universal rights. Those rights include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; equality for men and women under the rule of law; and the right to…

The Arab Spring’s Impact on U.S.-Iran Rivalry

May 19, 2011
Ellen Laipson How has the Arab spring changed the strategic environment for U.S.-Iran relations?Turbulence in Arab politics will have both direct and indirect effects on U.S.-Iran relations.  The uncertain outcomes–specifically which countries other than Tunisia, Egypt and possibly Yemen undergo…

Iran: The Quiet Before the Storm

May 16, 2011
Alireza Nader        The Arab uprisings have dramatically transformed the Middle East. But Iran, a country of pressing concern for the United States, has remained relatively calm. Street protests following the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings quickly fizzled. And the Iranian government has…

State Department Testimony: Iran’s Growing Human Rights Abuses

May 11, 2011
         The following is an excerpt on Iran’s human rights violations from a joint statement by Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and Philo L. Dibble, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, in testimony…

2011 Report: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

May 11, 2011
The following are excerpts from the annual report released April 28, 2011:         The government of Iran continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the…

Is the Political Crisis Over?—Part III

May 10, 2011
Semira N. Nikou            Iran’s political crisis over Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi may be over, but the drama over presidential chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is not.               President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has now accepted the supreme leader’s instructions to keep the…

Widely Diverse Iranian Views on bin Laden’s Death

May 6, 2011
Semira N. Nikou         In widely diverse responses, Iran discounted Osama bin Laden’s death while at the same time calling for a faster U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan since the pretext for going to war was eliminated. But officials and media generally did not mourn bin Laden’s passing. Iran’s…

Rand Survey: Iran on the U.S., Nukes and the Economy

May 4, 2011
Alireza Nader         The RAND Corporation conducted a phone survey of Iranian public opinion in order to gauge Iranian attitudes on critical issues affecting U.S. interests. Respondents constituted a nationally representative sample of 1,002 members of the Iranian public, age 18 and older, who…

Report on Internet Freedom in Iran 2011

May 3, 2011
Freedom House         Since the protests that followed the disputed presidential election of June 12, 2009, the Iranian authorities have waged an active campaign against internet freedom, employing extensive and sophisticated methods of control that go well beyond simple content filtering.…

Iranian and Saudi Competition in the Gulf

April 27, 2011
Anthony H. Cordesman        Saudi Arabia and the United States may not share the same political system and culture, but they do share broad strategic interests. Both countries must now deal with Iran in context of the arc of political instability that extends from Pakistan to Morocco—and is of…

Iran Media Splits over Intelligence Chief--Part II

April 26, 2011
Semira N. Nikou         The Iranian leadership split over intelligence chief Heidar Moslehi has spilled over into the media, which has offered widely diverse accounts of his reported resignation—and the political repercussions. The scandal became public on April 17 when President…

Iran Splits over Intelligence Chief--Part I

April 25, 2011
Semira N. Nikou            In an unusual public spat, Iran’s top two leaders have split over the future of intelligence chief Heider Moslehi. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly wanted him sacked and accepted Moslehi’s resignation on April 17. But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…

A New Channel for U.S.-Iran Communication

April 21, 2011
Ellen Laipson        The State Department's recent naming of a Persian-speaking press spokesman, Alan Eyre, opens a potentially important channel in the long-stagnant U.S.-Iran relationship. The absence of contact or inability to communicate at official levels means that American diplomats are…

Department of State’s Human Rights Report on Iran

April 12, 2011
The following is from the executive summary of the State Department issued its Human Rights Report for 2010:        The government severely limited citizens' right to peacefully change their government through free and fair elections, and it continued a campaign of postelection violence and…

War of Words over Bahrain Rattles Region

April 11, 2011
Afshin Molavi       A war of words has erupted between Iran and its Persian Gulf neighbors over the fate of Bahrain, catapulting unrest in the tiny island nation into a regional crisis with both political and sectarian overtones.         In a reflection of the tensions, a Gulf Arab foreign…

New Claims on Iran Nuclear Program Questionable

April 8, 2011
David Albright and Andrea Stricker        The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a longstanding opposition group, claimed on April 7 that the Iranian regime has a secret facility producing centrifuge components for uranium enrichment, a process that can be used for both peaceful…

Iran Backs Libyan Rebels, Chastises West Over Oil, Bahrain

April 5, 2011
Semira N. Nikou       Libya’s rebellion has put Iran in an awkward position. Tehran has tried to balance support for the Libyan opposition, which it views as part of a region-wide “Islamic awakening,” with rejection of the NATO-led military strikes.        Iranian officials charged that the U.…

Esfandiar Mashaei: Iran’s Next President?

March 30, 2011
Kourosh RahimkhaniAlthough never elected to office, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is a major political figure, with speculating mounting that he may be a presidential candidate in 2013. Who is Mashaei, besides chief of staff for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Mashaei was issued a visa to participate in…

Growing World Pressure Over Iran’s Human Rights Record

March 28, 2011
Robin Wright            The U.N. decision to appoint an investigator to track Iran’s human rights violations is the latest move by the international community to increase pressure on Tehran. The resolution follows a report by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in which he said he was “deeply…

Iran Warns Gulf on Bahrain

March 24, 2011
Semira N. Nikou       After weeks of relative silence, Iran has become increasingly outspoken about Bahrain’s political crisis since Saudi Arabia deployed troops to back up the beleaguered monarchy on March 14.        Iran has long had political, strategic and religious interests in Bahrain,…

The Limits of Iran’s Soft Power

March 22, 2011
Michael Eisenstadt        Political change sweeping the Middle East has heightened concerns about a shifting balance of power in Iran’s favor. But Tehran’s experience in Iraq provides critical insights into the limits of the Islamic Republic’s regional influence, and its propensity to be its…

Russia Balks at New Pressure on Iran

March 16, 2011
Mark N. Katz        After a year of cooperation on Iran, Russia now opposes new sanctions or other tough measures to pressure Tehran on its controversial nuclear program. The failure of recent diplomacy to get Iran to comply with U.N. resolutions, and reassure the world that it is not secretly…

Rafsanjani Dislodged From a Top Job

March 9, 2011
Farideh Farhi Iran’s Assembly of Experts voted March 8 to replace former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the chairmanship. What happened and why is the outcome significant?On March 8, the Assembly of Experts, effectively pushed former President Rafsanjani from the leadership of a top…

Rising Oil Prices Create Political Cushion for Iran

March 7, 2011
Fareed Mohamedi  Oil prices have risen worldwide because of political unrest and upheavals in the Middle East. How has Iran been affected by the turmoil in oil sales?The sudden rise in oil prices amid uncertainty and upheavals in the Middle East could create a political cushion for…

Where are Iran's Opposition Leaders? Officials Speak Out

March 3, 2011
Semira N. Nikou      Iran has tightened the squeeze on Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi amid opposition attempts to mobilize new protests. The regime has dodged persistent questions about whether the two leaders—both prominent figures in the 1979 revolution—and their…